It's an untold story this year. Portland, with it's beleaguered back line, is actually one of the best defenses in the league. All the injuries. The unacceptable mental lapses on set pieces. The silly AJB penalties. If you asked me before I studied the table, I'd tell you the Timbers are surviving on the back line, but are good enough in the attack to make up the difference. But I'd be wrong. With a stitched together backline starring Andrew Jean-Baptiste, a player with tremendous potential and decent execution for his age, but still raw and still in need of mental development, Portland has managed to show up tied for 2nd in the league in goals allowed. Yes, I said, TIED FOR 2ND! Only Sporting Kansas City has allowed fewer goals. This is not to say that Portland isn't a good attacking team. In terms of goals scored, they are tied for 5th in the league. But incredibly, their defense is their strongest point. The sum of it? The Timbers are also tied for 2nd in the league in goal differential (and tied for 1st in the West). It's unfortunate that their bottom line is well below their goal differential. They are just 6th in the league in point per game (behind Seattle, NY, SKC, Montreal, and RSL). Defense is an area where the team can improve with better execution on set pieces, and fewer silly fouls in the box by AJB, but with Futty and Horst returning to provide depth and bring some added experience, Timbers may be hard to score against as we close out the year. And Urruti has looked promising, if not a little rusty, in his first couple of games. If he gets some confidence and takes our striker position up a notch, look out. We might be able to make a better final run, and go farther in the playoffs, than most would anticipate at this time.